The liberal magazine Mother Jones has obtained film footage of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaking at an apparently private, off-the-record fundraising dinner. The magazine does not say where or when the event was or who provided the footage to them other than to say it was from earlier this year and they have “confirmed its authenticity.”
In the footage, Romney speaks candidly about the task he has in terms of winning the election, arguing that at least 47% of the electorate – and maybe more – is already tied to President Obama and cannot be dissuaded. He argues that receiving government entitlements defines their politics and that they cannot be lured away with tax cut promises because they already pay virtually no taxes:
There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what. The president starts off with 48-9 percent — He starts off with a huge number. These are people who pay no income taxes. 47 percent of Americans pay no incomes taxes. So our message of low taxes doesn’t come up. He’ll be out there talking about tax cuts for the rich. That’s what they say every four years. And so my job is to not to worry about those few (inaudible) they should take personal responsibility and take care for their lives. What I have to do is to convince the five to ten percent in the center.
In another audio clip, Romney argues he has to be careful in how he persuades that narrow sliver of swing voters because they still like Obama personally and don’t want to look at his presidency as a failure:
We speak with voters across the country about their perceptions. Those people I told you—the five to six or seven percent that we have to bring onto our side—they all voted for Barack Obama four years ago. So, and by the way, when you say to them, “Do you think Barack Obama is a failure?” they overwhelmingly say no. They like him. But when you say, “Are you disappointed that his policies haven’t worked?” they say yes. And because they voted for him, they don’t want to be told that they were wrong, that he’s a bad guy, that he did bad things, that he’s corrupt. Those people that we have to get, they want to believe they did the right thing, but he just wasn’t up to the task. They love the phrase that he’s “over his head.” But if we’re– but we, but you see, you and I, we spend our day with Republicans. We spend our days with people who agree with us. And these people are people who voted for him and don’t agree with us. And so the things that animate us are not the things that animate them. And the best success I have at speaking with those people is saying, you know, the president has been a disappointment. He told you he’d keep unemployment below eight percent. Hasn’t been below eight percent since. Fifty percent of kids coming out of school can’t get a job. Fifty percent. Fifty percent of the kids in high school in our 50 largest cities won’t graduate from high school. What’re they gonna do? These are the kinds of things that I can say to that audience that they nod their head and say, “Yeah, I think you’re right.” What he’s going to do, by the way, is try and vilify me as someone who’s been successful, or who’s, you know, closed businesses or laid people off, and is an evil bad guy. And that may work.
Mother Jones reporter David Corn claims the line about Obama promising to get unemployment under eight percent is not true.
Corn is wrong: Two of Obama’s economic advisers released a report in January 2009 arguing that the economic stimulus bill would have unemployment under 6 percent by now.